Blogiversary, Helpful Hints, Giveaway
June 14, 2010

That’s right kids, it’s been 2 years since Sally opened her own virtual world!  In the past year, Sally has: posted more recipes, hunted more dinos, trained for 2 very different half marathons, got a personal record running a half marathon, hula hooped 13.1 miles in a storm, bought her own home, traveled to Canada again, hula hooped with fire, got snowed in, was flooded, became a new aunt (Tante), and shared many of her Helpful Hints.

And what better way to celebrate a blogiversary than with a Helpful Hints Giveaway!  But first, here are a couple more helpful hints to keep you going!

Sore feet
Been wearing heels too long?  Or feet are just worn out from a long run?  Use a TENNIS BALL or GOLF BALL to massage those sore feet.  This can be done at your desk or while watching TV.  Just slip off those shoes, and roll your foot back and forth on a tennis ball to massage your feet.

Scratches on Wood
I hate when I accidentally ding up a coffee table or picture frame moving it around.  How do you cover that ding?  Just just a MARKER that is a similar color to the wood finish.  You could buy the fancy expensive furniture markers, or you can just save your money and buy the same thing with a different name.  I keep a black and a brown marker on hand at all times!

No Socks
In the summer, you can’t just wear socks or hose with all kinds of shoes.  Besides the weird way it looks, it is also very warm.  But how do you get your shoes to feel comfortable and to reduce the sweatiness factor?   Just sprinkle some BABY POWDER or other foot powder in your shoe and voila, instant dry fit!

Back Tension
I hate when I have a knot in my back.  It seems impossible to work it out on my own.  But I just place a TENNIS BALL between my chair or the wall and my back and roll back and forth on it, or just sit back against the ball on the knot in my back.  It really helps relieve the knot and massage your back.

Gardening
While gardening, many plants need to be staked against a trellis or other stick, but some plants are too delicate for metal or plastic ties.  Just take some old PANTYHOSE, cut off small rings from the legs and snip one end. You instantly have a gentle, stretchy tie that will expand with the plant and can be easily removed, without damaging the plant.  Next time don’t throw away that pair with the run, just put it in with your gardening tools!

Wet Shoes
In the past year, I have learned a lot about running and walking in the rain!  So, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of soaking wet water-logged sneakers.  The fastest way to dry out the sneakers (without causing any warping, etc.) is to stuff them with NEWSPAPER.  For some reason, the paper used for newspapers is very absorbent and dries quickly.  Just remember to change them out periodically until your shoes are dry.  The paper wicks away the moisture and helps prevent any mildew or mold, and means you’ll be back out running or walking quicker!

Fluffing Laundry
Do you want your towels fluffy like when you first bought them?  Throw a TENNIS BALL in the dryer with your towels (just don’t use dryer sheets – they zap the absorbency of towels and should never be used with any towels).  The ball will bounce around with your towels, make a little noise, and help fluff and separate your towels while they dry!

BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY
Ok, now to the Giveaway.  I know, I know, that’s the only reason you’re here.  That’s ok, I love giveaways too, just be sure to tell your friends!  This Blogiversary Giveaway is Helpful Hints related!  Each item in the package is something I have mentioned as a tool in Sally’s Helpful Hints!  I have not included every item I have suggested because some are not very conducive to shipping (e.g., honey).

This package includes:  Tennis balls , eye drops, Friction Aid stick, cinnamon, black and brown sharpie markers, meat tenderizer, Tide To-Go stick, baby powder, pantyhose, dryer sheets, and tea tree oil stick.  And I may throw in some other bonus goodies for good measure upon shipping.

What do you need to do?  Just leave a comment (one comment only per person please) either about your favorite Helpful Hint from Sally, or share one of your own helpful hints with Sally and her readers!  The giveaway will end Friday, June 18 at 12:01AM CST.  At that point I will assign the valid entries a number and take a random drawing.

*(NOTE:  Sally does not specifically endorse any product featured on Sally’s Helpful Hints on Sallaboutme, nor has she received any special endorsements or sponsorship by any particular brand or company.  She’s just that nice to go out and buy them herself just for the readers.  Often the products purchased for the giveaway are generic brands with no particular preference to a particular company.  All uses of or participation in any of Sally’s Helpful Hints are at your own risk.  It’s the internet folks, you are always at your own risk.  Giveaway currently only available for shipping within the lower 48 States.  Rules subject to revision at any time by Sally.)

AND THE WINNER IS…..

Nate Baker! Congrats Nate!  I’ll email you very soon and get your package to you!  Thank you to everyone for playing along!  There are some really great hints below, check them out!  And look for them to appear in future Sally’s Helpful Hints posts!

(Note: Many apologies to Gareth, one of my most faithful readers.  He lives on the other side of the pond, so he was disqualified from the Giveaway.  But you should go check out his blog and send him a little love from this side of the pond…especially after the world cup game the other day…)

Sweet Sixteen
March 19, 2010

I have some very exciting news.  There is a Baby Barbie in our midst!  And she’s Sweet Sixteen today; 16 days that is.  I’m so overjoyed for Barbie and her man and her pup, that they have a beautiful Baby Barbie in their lives.  It was quite a surprise and a blessing at the same time.  The best part is that Baby Barbie was born here in town, which means that not only is Barbie sticking around (and only a couple miles from my house) for the next several months, but so is Baby Barbie!  I have my favorite Lady back from Canada for a little while and get to spend time totally spoiling the Baby Barbie as well!  Tante Sally is smitten!

A new kind of New Year’s
December 31, 2009

2009 has been a really great year for me.  Of course, I’ve had some highs and lows, but mostly highs that are great enough that can overshadow the lows.  I met some wonderful people, ran a fantastic race with my best friend, bought a fabulous condo (lovingly dubbed “The Bachelorette Pad”), successfully juggled two great jobs, and overall had a really fun time!

I’ve never really been one to have New Year’s resolutions, because it seems like you’re just asking yourself to fail when you put so much expectation on yourself. (though I’d really like to start getting my normally punctual butt to work on time more often)  But I do know that I have a few things I’m planning to accomplish this year, and they will be done, such as Hooping the Half Marathon, and continuing running, and visiting more with Barbie (maybe we’ll run another great race together!).  But I guess if I could have New Year’s resolutions or New Year’s wishes, I would make them for my friends:

For Barbie:  Continued happiness (and warmth) in Canada, more healthy (injury free) running, a successful school year, and her husband in the same house!

For Kentucky:  Health and happiness for her family and that she makes it through a particularly difficult New Years, and a wonderful wedding in the fall!

For Legally:  A relatively stress- (and boredom-) free job, a visit to The Bachelorette Pad (ok that one’s selfish on my part), and more success with her cake/goodies baking (if you haven’t checked it out on my blog links – Seriously Sweet is seriously cute), and hopefully she’ll bring me some goodies too (selfish plug #2), and more (injury free) of that super fast running she seems to do!

For Bama:  A successful school year, more fun nights watching TV (seriously that girl loves to entertain), and visits to both of our pools!

For Mister T:  A happy, healthy year for his family, and better decision making skills for our lunch dates.

For Mama-cita:  That her children continue to be happy and healthy, and a stress-free year with family.

For Shutterbug:  Lots and lots of work that is both fun and lucrative, and an opportunity to shoot us fire hooping!

For zico01:  More fun blogging and commenting (I always look forward to his comments here), and a joint blogging adventure with me and Barbie!

For all my hooper friends:  Lots of hooping, pretty hoops, and success on the Hooping the Half Marathon event day!

For Diva Kitty:  Lots and lots of cheese, fish, and crepes. (Yes apparently she likes crepes now)  More fun looking out the window at birds, squirrels, and chipmunks.  And attacking whatever it is that irks her on the stairs in the Bachelorette Pad.

Canada pt. 4 (the finale)
October 21, 2009

I am finally home again.  It feels great, and Diva Kitty is so happy to see me. (don’t worry the affection won’t last long)  My final trip home was quite an adventure.  Barbie had class this morning, so I stayed behind to pack.  I went for my first run since the race, a light easy 2 miles.  It wasn’t bad, but my right calf started hurting again during the run.  Never had post-race pain last this long.  I guess I need to ease back into it; I’ll get plenty of upper body work this weekend at the hooping seminars.  After Barbie’s class, I drove over to the school to pick her up.  Yes, that was my first time attempting to drive in a foreign country.  Hard to believe that’s the first time, considering how much and how long I’ve been traveling internationally.  I managed the mile or two and back without any problems.  We stopped for some last minute falafel (Yum!) before hitting the road.

We hit some construction traffic in Canada.  Then, while waiting in line at the border, we witnessed something crazy that held up our pass through the border.  It appeared that the border patrol surrounded and arrested several Mennonites or Hutterites several cars ahead of us.  We were eventually back on the road, but were caught in the web that is Metro Detroit rush hour/construction traffic.

We arrived at the airport 10 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off.  I was certain I had missed my flight, so I went to the ticket counter.  I needed to check a bag anyway.  The guy at the counter told me I would make the flight but my bag might not.  I thought there is no way I would ever make it through security at a major airport in 10 minutes and I really didn’t want to sprint to the gate, especially with my sore calf from the 2 miles this morning.  I got to the gate, and they were just boarding.  Wow, couldn’t believe it.  We landed on time and I walked to baggage claim.  Just as I neared the carousel, my bag was floating by.  No way, the bag made it too?!  At some point in my life I must have pleased the gods of air travel.

I successfully made it home!  So, to recap…that’s 7 days, my first snow of the season, 6 border crossings, 13.1 miles, becoming an international racer, one Ikea trip, one H&M trip, one puffio, one sinful cupcake, a Titans jersey in a Canadian bar, several funny signs, one crazy border crossing, fortuitous air travel, and a sore calf.  What a trip!

Canada pt. 3 (post race)
October 20, 2009

We survived the race!  It was a very chilly start, just below freezing.  But fortunately we had made a last minute trip to the outdoorsy store (coupon in hand!) and got some great cold weather pants.  Barbie and I were in different starting waves, so I gave her a huge hug and some encouraging words before her first half and made my way to my corral.  Though it was a fairly large race (about 20,000 runners), it wasn’t long before I away from the crowds and could comfortably find my own pace.  We approached the Ambassador Bridge, which turned out to be a pretty manageable incline despite my fears.  Once crossing the bridge, we were in Canada.  I’m officially an international racer!  It was a beautiful run the entire race, great scenery and interesting urban landscape.  It was around mile 5 that I realized I forgot to put Body Glide on my feet and I worried about blisters the rest of the race.  Fortunately, I didn’t develop anything awful.  Maybe my socks were already saturated with the stuff.

The tunnel back to the U.S. turned out to be the worst part.  It is the only international underwater mile (once again an international racer).  A mile means I’m in the tunnel for about 10 minutes.  It was a different climate in the tunnel and I really began to stifle from the heat and other runners.  Fortunately, we reached the end of the tunnel and entered the U.S. again.  Of course, as I exited the tunnel Green Day’s “American Idiot” began on my ear buds as if on cue.  I promise I have my music on “shuffle” when I run.

The rest of the race meandered through downtown Detroit.  I felt great throughout the whole race.  Somewhere in the last third of the race, I realized I was on track to best my last finish time for a half.  So that encouraged me to keep going.  In fact I finished in 2:15:05, almost a full 15 minutes faster than my first half!  I’m very pleased.  I trained hard enough and smart enough.  I deserved it.

I attempted to take pictures with a mini camera during the race.  If I am able to download them to the computer, I will update with photos.

After clearing the finish, I went back to the hotel to get warmer clothes to watch for Barbie at the finish line.  I finally found her and we celebrated together.  As I said before:  Running 13.1 miles with your best friend…Priceless!  I’m very proud of her, she had a great race, and really proud of both of us.  Yay, Runner Girl Power!

The best post-race celebration I think I’ve ever had included Pumpkin Spice smoothies at the post-race party.  Wow, yummy!  I need to start making those!  Of course, the past couple days since the race we’ve been moving in rather slow or odd ways.  Post race soreness is a funny creature.  But nothing that a few glasses of wine or a few pints couldn’t fix.

To battle our post race soreness, we hit The Honest Lawyer again tonight.  Barbie did some of her grading, while I worked on some pro bono work.  (Kinda fitting that’s a good place to work.)  It’s my last night visiting with Barbie, but I’ve had a great trip!  And a great break, that was sorely needed.

Canada pt. 2 (pre-race)
October 18, 2009

I have already spent one day in Canada and one day in Detroit.  My first day, I had a brief last day run before the race.  It was cold and some of the snow from the previous day was still on the roofs of houses, but it was a nice jog.  While Barbie taught Canada’s youth, I explored downtown.  As soon as I got of the bus I spotted these signs.  Failblog entry here I come.

thai

wheels

We eventually stopped by my favorite pub again.  And look what they had hanging inside.  Keep in mind, this is Canada, not the NFL!

honestlawyer

titans

Before heading back to the U.S. we enjoyed goodies from Barbie’s favorite cupcake place.

cupcake

We got to Detroit and the first place we stayed (Barbie’s relatives) had no heat. Brrr….  But eventually we went downtown to get our registrations for the race and check into our hotel the next day.  Wish us luck on the race!!

Canada pt. 1
October 16, 2009

Yesterday, I began my annual trip to Canada.  I hopped a plane to Detroit (by way of Baltimore) to visit Barbie.  She picked me up at the airport and we made our way across the border.  After we entered Canada I confessed I was pretty hungry so we pulled off in a border town and I convinced Barbie to stop at a random strip mall pizza joint.  Mostly I wanted to stop there  because I was curious about their sign.

puffio sign

What in the world is a Puffio?!  I mean, c’mon who isn’t curious by that?  It’s either something I’ve never heard of, or it’s some Canadian-ism for something I know by another name.  Either way, it’s a cultural learning experience potential, and I never turn those down!  Turns out a puffio is different from a panzerotti according to the nice lady inside (what is a panzerotti??).  After ordering two “kids-sized” puffios with our choice of ingredients, we discovered two things:

1.  A puffio is a deep fried calzone
2.  “Kids size” must also be metric in Canada because it was HUGE.

puffio

After stuffing ourselves with yummy fried goodness (it was actually good despite the fried factor), we got back on the road.  Soon after we were on our way, it started SNOWING!  Yes,  snow.  It wasn’t much more than a dusting and didn’t stick to the road, but it was enough to make driving confusing.  So, in the middle of October, I’ve had my first snow experience.  Yay, Canada.

Stuff dreams are made
October 8, 2009

One more week and I’ll be off on a jet plane (oh please let it be a big one, I need too many drinks for those puddle jumpers)  to visit Barbie.  And, of course to run those pesky 13.1 miles.  Here’s hoping the weather is nice.  I’d really prefer to not run another race in the rain, and especially in the COLD rain.

I really need the break too, and turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Last night I dreamed I was smoking cigarettes.  And by cigarettes, I mean several….at once, with some kind of weird cigarette holder/pan-flute-looking contraption that filtered several into one.  Let me be clear, I am not and have never been a smoker.  Surely that must mean something in dream interpretation, right?  One variation was that the dreamer is in need of a break.  Maybe dreams give us more insight than we think…then again another interpretation was that it was a lucky omen or I need to get a medical examination for fear of health issues.   So, my search engine results may have been crap, but I’m going with the break.  Barbie, here I come!

Post-race activities
September 30, 2009

Saturday I ran the wettest race of my life.  As I drove to the race, pre-sunrise, it was pouring and the sky was full of lightning.  I thought to myself, surely they won’t make us run in this.  Nope, when I pulled into the park, there were tons of people and the start line and corrals were set up.  The rain started to let up to a mild rain and the lightning dissipated.  The 5k runners went first and as I watched them run away I had a last minute disappointment that I didn’t just jump into their corral and take an easier run.  Instead I ran through the rain for 9.3 miles (15k) in not only standing water puddles, but “rolling water.”  It took my shoes several days to dry out.

What did I do after this race?  I moved to the new home!  Granted I hired movers to help out, but nonetheless I did have to move some things and unpack.  Unpacking is almost as fun as packing….Hmm I smell sarcasm.  Without a doubt I will definitely need and enjoy my massage this afternoon.

The big race is coming up in 18 days!  Besides visiting Barbie and Canada, I have some other big post-race plans.  The weekend after the race, I will be spending the entire weekend in hooping workshops!  Learning advanced hoooping techniques, LED hooping, sensual hooping, and fire hooping.  Yes, that was FIRE hooping.  Google it; it’s amazing!  It seems I have a habit of not relaxing after a race.  I like to get a really good workout even after I’ve already had a test of my physical endurance.  Stay tuned for the updates from Canada and the hooping!

Back Up
August 25, 2009

Sally’s back from a brief hiatus, where the blog was set in privacy mode.  I had a minor issue in my virtual world that required a temporary lock down.  Sorry for the delay, we now resume your regular programming.

In other news, we’ve had the most wonderful weather the past few days.  It’s hard to believe that it’s still August.  It truly feels like fall.  Even my walnut tree is telling me fall is on its way…dropping loud  walnuts on the roof from about 20-30 feet.  I always forget just how much I love fall, more so than any other season, until it rolls around briefly each year.  Too bad in this part of the country (or even this part of the state) we really only get two full seasons: Hot Summer and Bitter Winter.  For now, I’ll enjoy running in the cool weather, even if we do get a hot Indian Summer snap next week!

And it’s a sad week.  Barbie has started her trek back up to the great white north to go back to school.  I’m so sad to see her go. But I know in less than two months I will see her when I go up for the big race!  I’m going a few days early and staying a few days later so I can spend some quality time with her!  I can’t wait.  She’s my rock in the murky waters that is life right now.  And she’s pretty darn funny too!  I wish her a safe trip home!

Stay tuned…Sally has some really big news to announce soon!